Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Speak Up on Autonomous Vehicles

As you may have heard, an autonomous vehicle (AV) recently hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, as she was walking her bicycle across the street. While the full details of the crash are not available, this tragedy marks the first time a bicyclist or pedestrian has been killed by an AV in the United States. 
FABB joins with the League of American Bicyclists in supporting efforts to require all automated driving systems to prove their ability to recognize and respond to people bicycling and walking before they are on community streets. After all, when human drivers apply for a driver’s license we have to pass a vision test.
The US Senate is currently considering S. 1885, The AV START Act, to set guidelines for automated vehicle manufacturers to test their vehicles on our streets.  Please ask your Senators to require AVs to pass a vision test proving they can see bicyclists and pedestrians.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Alexandria Working to Become Gold Level Bike Friendly Community

Photo courtesy of City of Alexandria.
Hey, all, if you live or just occasionally ride through the City of Alexandria, here is an opportunity to provide input about and show your support for bicycling in our region. 

Alexandria has applied to the League of American Bicyclists to be recognized as a Gold Level Bike Friendly Community. This is really important and FABB encourages everyone (you DON'T have to be a resident) to help the city and the League gain a better understanding of local bicyclists' experiences in and around Alexandria by taking this survey

Alexandria has made significant strides to improve bicycling, including new bike lanes on King Street, Van Dorn Street, Prince Street and Cameron Street. Other recent improvements include:
  • A Vision Zero Action Plan and a Complete Streets Program. 
  • Expansion of BikeShare  across the city. 
  • Alexandria City Public Schools providing bicycling safety and skills education in a growing number of elementary schools. 
Please take a few minutes to take the survey about bicycling in Alexandria. Again, you do not have to be a resident of Alexandria to take the survey, which will remain open through Sunday, April 8th. But, don't wait. Please do it now. Award results will be announced during National Bike Month in May. 

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Reminder: Monthly Meeting This Wednesday in Alexandria

FABB hopes you will join us for our March meeting this Wednesday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Government Center. We will be focusing on the Lee and Mount Vernon Districts and upcoming bicycling developments, including projects such as the EMBARK Richmond Highway. See you there! 

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

March-April 2018 FABB News

March-April 2018
A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling

Volunteers Needed for Springfest and Bike to Work Day
Spring is coming and FABB needs your help! Volunteers are needed to staff FABB tables at Springfest on April 21 and Bike to Work Day on May 18. Help FABB get out in the community and promote bicycling as a fun and healthy way to run errands, commute to work and get excercise. Sign up now for Springfest or Bike to Work Day!  
Upcoming Repaving Meetings and Comment Deadlines
IMG_3533VDOT and FCDOT continues to hold district specfic public meetings on their plans for 2018 repaving and restriping projects, which include bicycle and other safety improvements. Upcoming meetings will be held in the Mason District on Tuesday, March 13; Hunter Mill District on Monday, March 19; and Springfield District on Thursday, April 5. You're encouraged to attend to speak up in support of the planned addition of new bicycling infrastructure.
There is still time to submit comments on proposed improvements in the Braddock District, comment deadline is March 16, and Lee District, comment deadline is March 23. Learn more about the 2018 Paving and Restriping Program here.

County Budget Meetings: Speak Up for Bikes
Fairfax County is seeking public input on its proposed FY2019 budget and is hosting several town hall meetings around the county. This is a great opportunity to speak out for better bicycling in the county. Consider attending a meeting near you one and speaking up or writing in support of: maintaining Safe Routes to School funding for a full-time Coordinator to work with county schools to improve bicycling and walking to school; and increasing funding for maintenance and repair of bicycle facilities.

Budget Town Hall meetings will be held at the following locations and times:
  • GREAT FALLS: Monday, March 12 at 7:30 PM, Great Falls Library, 9830 Georgetown Pike
  • PROVIDENCE: Wednesday, March 14 at 7:00 PM, Providence Community Center, 3001 Vaden Drive, Fairfax
  • BRADDOCK: Wednesday, March 14 at 7:30 PM, location TBD.
  • MASON: Thursday, March 15 at 7:00 PM, Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale
  • MOUNT VERNON: Monday, March 19 at 7:00 PM, Whitman Middle School, 2500 Parkers Lane, Alexandria
  • LEE: Wednesday, March 21 at 7:00 PM, Franconia Governmental Center, 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria
  • SPRINGFIELD: Thursday, March 22 at 7:00 PM, Springfield Governmental Center, 6140 Rolling Road, Springfield
Visit the County’s webpage on the proposed budget for more information. You can also contact your local district Supervisor to express your support for expanded funding for better bicycling. Find their contact information here.
Park E-Bike Policies Under Review
EBikes1Electric bikes (E-Bikes) are growing in popularity and now park groups in Fairfax County are considering how best to manage the bikes use and safety on trails. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and the Fairfax County Park Authority are considering whether to allow e-bikes on shared use park trails.

Shared-used trails in our parks are key transportation links so local jurisdictions are determining how best to accommodate e-bikes, while hopefully providing some consistency in the rules between jurisdictions. Currently under Virginia law, e-bikes are treated as bicycles if they have a maximum power of 1,000 watts, and a top speed of 25 mph. They’re subject to the same rules of the road as human-powered bicycles, and are allowed on sidewalks and paths where traditional bikes are allowed. However, shared use trails in our parks are subject to different rules, which currently prohibit motor vehicles on trails.
EBikes2If you’re unfamiliar with e-bikes, they are bikes and trikes with an electric motor that can be used to assist the rider’s pedaling efforts. People for Bikes developed model legislation categorizing e-bikes into three classifications. The Class I pedal-assist bike has a motor that kicks on only when pedaling. Class II has a throttle and the motor engages ­­on demand. Both of these types have a 750 watt motor that cuts out at 20 mph. There is also a Class III pedal assist that tops out at 28 mph.

The FABB Board is looking into the impact of the small yet growing numbers of e-bikes. E-bikes can help make the benefits of bicycling accessible to more people and encourage more trips by bike instead of a car. At the same time, we want to make sure increased e-bike use is safe on our trails. What do you think? Take FABB's quick survey on E-Bikes
Distracted Driving Bill Moves in Virginia General Assembly

AssemblyDistracted driving legislation was the one bicycling related bill to move in the Virginia General Assembly this year. The distracted driving legislation, HB181, states that the use of a cellphone that “substantially diverts the driver’s attention from the operation of the motor vehicle is guilty of distracted driving.” The bill would make distracted driving a primary motoring offense (a driver can be stopped solely for the offense) with fines of up to $500.

While HB181 passed the House, the bill was amended in the Senate to address concerns about the potential for racial profiling. The new language would require development of best practices and that law enforcement keep a record of citations. With the amended language, the bill passed the Senate, but is now in conference committee to reconcile the different versions of the legislation. Given the legislative session is over, time may have run out on the bill for this year.

Due to this increase in distracted-driving related deaths, bike advocacy groups, as well as AAA, Drive Smart Virginia, and police groups have called for revisions to Virginia’s distracted driving laws. According to The Virginian-Pilot, since 2012 as smart phones became more widely used, there have been 949 distracted driving-related fatalities in Virginia. This compares to 1,380 drivers who have been killed as a result of alcohol-related crashes during the same period.
I-66 Parallel Trail Update
I-66 Parallel TrailWhile initial construction activities on the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project are set to begin, there are no new developments to report on the parallel bike trail. The contractor is working to finalize design plans for the trail as they complete engineering surveys of the corridor. Fairfax County DOT, meanwhile, is focusing on the off-corridor portions of the planned parallel trail, developing the scope of work documents and revising cost estimates. The good news is that the county will be able to begin the design process using existing funds. The bad news is that more money will be needed to complete the projects, and this funding must be identified and allocated. VDOT and FCDOT continue to assert that the entire I-66 parallel trail will be complete and open when the overall highway project is delivered.
Save the Date! Join Us at FABB's March and April Meetings
FABB_logo_col2016The March FABB meeting will be in Alexandria focusing on bicycling developments in the Lee and Mount Vernon Districts. Join us at 7:30 pm, Wednesday, March 21 at the Mount Vernon Government Center. We'll hear the latest updates from the Fairfax County bike program, Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay's staff and, tentatively, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck. This meeting is a great opportunity to get updates on projects such as the EMBARK Richmond Highway Project and raise concerns about bicycling and other multimodal transportation options in the district.
At the April meeting, FABB will provide an introduction to basic techniques and approaches for effective bicycle advocacy. If you've been contemplating becoming more involved in bicycle advocacy, this meeting can help jumpstart your participation. Join us at 7:30pm on Wednesday, April 18 at Patrick Henry Library in Vienna. Consider bringing a friend who may be interested in getting involved too!
Springfest Fairfax in April
Join FABB at Springfest 2018Fairfax County’s annual Earth Day and Arbor Day event. This year’s FREE festival will be on April 21, from 10-4 pm at the Sully Historic Site. FABB is proud Springfest partner. Stop by FABB's table or join one of our social rides to the event. Stay tuned for more details. Interested in volunteering with FABB at Springfest? Sign up today!
Springfest 2018 will include workshops, exhibitors, and activities to help people take action to make a “Healthy Planet-Healthy People.” Activities include a petting zoo, an environmental obstacle course, and arts and crafts. You check out the bees and the trees exhibit, consult with Master Gardeners,and buy plants for your garden.
Join Us for National Bike Challenge
National Bike ChallengeAre you ready for the challenge? After FABB's successful advocacy challenge last year as part of the National Bike Challenge, we're getting ready to do it again! Will you join us? Register today! Invite your friends and neighbors too! We're gearing up for the challenge which starts May 1st. The goal is get people out on their bikes to reap the benefits that come from an active, healthy, and fun means of recreation and transportation.
National Bike Summit A Success
The 2018 National Bike Summit wrapped up this week in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, the Summit featured speakers, workshops and panel discussions on a variety of bicycle education and advocacy efforts around the country. FABB was represented by President Jeff Anderson, Vice President Sonya Breehey, and Reston advocate Mario Martin-Alciati.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao opened the summit on Monday highlighting the administration's efforts to address bicycle safety, announcing the Federal Highway Administration's release of guidelines for Measureing Multi-Modal Network Connectivity, and touched on the Trump administration's infrastructure plan. Over the two days, there were workshops on developing e-bike policies, working with law enforcement, autonomous vehicles, bicycle friendly driver training, and many other topics. On Wednesday, FABB joined Bike Arlington, the Virginia Bicycling Federation and other advocates from around the state meeting with legislators on Capital Hill to advoacte for better bicycling in Virginia.
2018 FABB Planning, Volunteers Needed

Fabb Social RideFABB held two planning meetings in February to develop a 2018 work plan. The first meeting was among the Board members and the second involved a larger group of other key volunteers. In the first meeting, the board reviewed the organization’s overall objectives over the years and agreed to condense these into five priority areas. In the second meeting, the broader group of FABB volunteers broke into groups to develop goals, activities, and timelines for 2018 under each of the priority areas. The five priority areas are:
  • Advocacy for Better Bicycle Infrastructure and Multimodal Transportation
  • Bike Ridership and Education
  • Alliances with Regional, Government, and Private Sector Partners
  • Inclusive Outreach to All Fairfax County Communities 
  • Legal Rights for Cyclists
A board member was assigned to lead each priority area and will work with a broader team of volunteers to meet the objectives for each priority area. But, we need more help! If you would like to learn more about any of these priority areas or contribute to them in any way, please contact

If you don't already, please Like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter feed. If you have news about bicycling in Fairfax to share with our readers, please submit brief articles to
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Distracted Driving Bill Update

HB181, which rewrites the 2009 texting while driving law and its 2013 revision, was sent to conference before the General Assembly ended and did not become law. It is unclear if it will be considered during the special session the governor intends to call. 

If passed, the bill currently makes any use of a cellphone that “substantially diverts the driver’s attention from the operation of the motor vehicle” a distracted driving violation. HB181 proposed making such distracted driving a primary motoring offense (a driver can be stopped solely for the offense) with fines of up to $500.  The proposed law is not as strict as those in Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia, which are “hands free” states where drivers can be fined simply for holding a phone.

The new law was prepared in response to the increase in motorist, pedestrian, and cyclist fatalities over the past two years, which is generally considered to be due to the increase in distracted driving. The new bill will give exemptions for police officers and emergency personnel who are using phones while driving. Also, drivers who are, “lawfully stopped or parked,” while using a phone will not be penalized.   


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Monday, March 12, 2018

Meeting on Major Bike Infrastructure Additions For Hunter Mill District

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) repaving and restriping meeting for the Hunter Mill District will be on Monday, March 19, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., in the Terraset Elementary School cafeteria at 11411 Ridge Heights Road in Reston. Proposed striping changes in the district include adding bicycle infrastructure on multiple roads as well as road redesigns of Bluemont Drive, Fountain Drive and South Lakes Drive. 

Among the changes FCDOT and VDOT are proposing for North Reston, there will be bike lanes added to Bennington Woods Drive, Temporary Road, Explorer Street; buffered bike lanes on Bluemont Drive, Bracknell Road, Bennington Woods Road, Fountain Drive and Walnut Branch Road; and a northbound bike lane and southbound shared lane markings (sharrows) on North Short Drive and Bowman Town Drive. 

For South Reston, FCDOT and VDOT have proposed extending the existing bike lanes on Lawyers Road west to Reston Parkway and east to Hunter Mill Road with a buffer between the bike lanes and travel lanes where space allows. The county and state transportation planners also are are proposing to upgrade existing lanes to or add new buffered bike lanes to Pinecrest Road, Soapstone Drive,  and South Lakes Drive. Finally, bike lanes also will be added to Ridge Heights Road and Braeburn Drive.

This is a tremendous amount of new bike infrastructure and FABB encourages local bicyclists and other residents interested in improving transportation options and increases safety for everyone to attend this meeting.  We can’t miss out on this opportunity to show strong support for the county’s and state’s efforts to make bicycling better. Your ideas also will be of great value to the VDOT and FCDOT planners for future restriping opportunities. If you can’t attend, you can still provide comments through April 6, 2018 here.

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

New Bike Club Starting at Irving Middle School

Scene from Falls Church bike club.
Safe Routes to School Coordinator Sally Smallwood reports that students at Irving Middle School will have the chance during May to participate in an after school bike club to learn basic bike maintenance skills. The club will meet every Tuesday from 2:25 p.m. to 3:25 p.m. After school specialist Brooke Samuelson is helping to organize the club with help from the Safe Routes to School office.

There are opportunities for FABB members to help out on this effort. If you have experience with bike maintenance and would like to volunteer, please contact Sally at saferoutestosschool@fcps.eduThe club also could use a couple of bike stands; if you have one to donate or loan, please send Sally a note. 

Each week students will work on a different part of their bike, learning about parts, changing a tire, adjusting the brakes, and cleaning and greasing the chain. Storage at Irving is an issue so students will need to bring their own bike. But, students may come to the club even if they don’t own a bike. The club tentatively plans to do some short rides at the end of each session to learn more about safe bike riding. 

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mason District Repaving and Restriping Meeting Set

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) are concluding the series of public meetings on proposed paving and restriping changes in the county over the next several weeks.  The meeting on proposals for the Mason District will be at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, in the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Proposed striping changes in the Mason District include buffered bike lanes on Gallows Road, and a bike lane and shared lane markings (sharrows) on Industrial Road. 

FABB encourages its Mason District members and other interested residents to take advantage of this opportunity to speak up in support of the proposals. Your ideas are valuable to the VDOT and FCDOT planners for future restriping opportunities. If unable to attend, you can still provide comments through April 2, 2018 at the FCDOT website here

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Trail Meeting Scheduled

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a community information meeting on the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Trail project from 7:00 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The meeting will be in the auditorium of Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Old Mount Vernon Road in Alexandria. Local residents and other potential trail users will be able to learn about the project and give feedback to FCDOT before it proceeds with a more detailed design.       

The project, which is still in the design phase, will create two miles of 10-foot wide path to fill in missing segments of the National Heritage Scenic Trail and will include a pedestrian bridge over Dogue Creek. Other improvements include marked crosswalks and curb ramps that meet American with Disabilities Act standards. Once complete, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail will provide a continuous facility for bicyclists and pedestrians along the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway from Route 1 to the Mount Vernon Estates.

FABB encourages local bicyclists to attend and speak up on behalf of better bike infrastructure and multimodal transportation options. If unable to attend, community members can give feedback online via the comment form on the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Trail project page. Comments will be accepted through April 8, 2018.  

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

FABB’s March Meeting Focuses on Lee and Mount Vernon Districts

FABB encourages all of its members to join us for our regular meeting on the third Wednesday of each month.  In March, we will be covering the Lee and Mount Vernon Districts as we start at the usual time of 7:30 p.m. on March 21, 2018, at the Community Meeting Room of the Mount Vernon Government Center at 2511 Parkers Lane in Mount Vernon. A representative of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation will be there to provide an update on ongoing plans to add bicycle infrastructure to the districts. We also will be hearing from a staff member from Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay's office  and, tentatively, from Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck. 

This meeting will be a great opportunity for local cyclists and other residents to get updates on projects such as the EMBARK Richmond Highway Project. There also will time for questions and answers as well as opportunities to raise issues about bicycling and networking with other multimodal transportation options in the district.  See you there!

Embark Richmond Highway Proposal

FABB continues its efforts to better serve and represent cyclists and other supporters throughout Fairfax by holding some of its monthly meetings in various districts around the county. If you would like to assist in setting up the program for the meeting in your district, please contact Steve Ward at

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Lee District Repaving/Restriping Meeting on March 7

The latest in the ongoing series of public meetings by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will focus on repaving and restriping plans for Lee District. It will be held on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at the Franconia Governmental Center, 6121 Franconia Road, in Alexandria.

VDOT and FCDOT use the repaving and restriping process to implement Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan to improve traffic safety and provide more transportation options. Proposed striping changes in the Lee District include: bike lanes on Bland Street, Brandon Avenue and Lake Village Drive; striped parking lanes and shared lane markings (sharrows) on Castlewellan Drive and Fairchild Drive; buffered bike lanes, sharrows and a center turn lane on Frye Road; and sharrows and bike lanes on Buckman Road. Details on the proposed changes can be found here.

FABB encourages Lee District bicyclists to speak up at the meeting in support of the proposals and provide ideas to the VDOT and FCDOT planners for future restriping opportunities. If you can’t attend, you can still provide comments through March 23, 2018. Submit you comments on Lee District improvements here.

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